Study: Women-led funds better performers

But allocations to women-led funds are expected to remain low, according to research from audit firm Rothstein Kass.

Women-owned or managed private equity funds perform ahead of the industry benchmark, according to research conducted by audit firm Rothstein Kass.

Rothstein’s report shows a small sample of women-owned or managed private equity funds reported net returns of 14.8 percent in 2012, topping the Cambridge Associates private equity fund index number of 13.8 percent.

The report, of performance analysis of women-owned or managed private equity and hedge funds, also includes a survey of 440 senior women in the alternative investment industry, including fund managers, investors and service providers.

The survey reveals that 24.5 percent of respondents expect allocations to women-led funds to increase somewhat, and 2 percent expect allocations to increase significantly. However, 93 percent of investors stated they had no specified mandate to invest in women-owned or managed funds.

“While the lack of an official diversity investing program does not necessarily mean that investment into women-owned and managed funds is not taking place, the pace of investments is definitely slower than many had hoped,” said in a statement Kelly Easterling, principal-in-charge of Rothstein Kass’ Walnut Creek office.

Lack of women-owned or managed funds was cited as one of the most common reasons why investors do not have a specific women-owned or managed fund investment mandates. But the survey shows that the number of women planning to launch their own funds is trending upward. In this year’s report 17.5 percent of respondents said they have a five-year career goal of managing their own fund, up from 14.2 percent in last year’s report.

However, investors and female-led funds are left in a ‘chicken and egg’ situation, said Easterling. “Until there is more money flowing to women-owned and managed funds it is unlikely that there will be a huge influx of new fund launches.”